Rivlin meets with ambassadors of Latin America and Carribean

Prior to upcoming tour in 2020 of Latin American countries.

Reuven Rivlin (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Reuven Rivlin
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
President Reuven Rivlin, who will be visiting several Latin American countries early in 2020, met on Thursday with ambassadors and Charges d’Affaires of 15 Latin America and Caribbean countries.
Given the president’s passion for soccer, and his ability to instantly recall the names of the great soccer players of the world and their best goals, it was only natural for him to talk about soccer to representatives of countries from which so many legendary stars of the game have emanated.
But before settling down to discuss his favorite sport, Rivlin referred to the security situation, saying that the State of Israel had once more demonstrated that it will not stand by idly when the security of its citizens is under threat. Nonetheless, Israel is not interested in an escalation of hostilities, and Israel’s response to quiet will be quiet.
Rivlin noted that many of Israel’s children have not yet returned to their regular routines, nor have their concerned parents. The president declared his support for the citizens of Israel, who have again proven resilient and willing to follow instructions for their security.
It is this resilience that enables security forces to do their vital work as professionally as possible, as they did this week, Rivlin said. He voiced his appreciation “on behalf of all Israelis for the nation’s soldiers and their commanders, and members of the security, intelligence and rescue forces.”
Getting back to the purpose of the meeting, Rivlin said he was happy to see that relations between Israel and Latin America are getting even closer than they have been over the years.
Relating to his upcoming visit, Rivlin said that Israelis and Latin Americans have similar temperaments and face similar challenges.
“We have to work together, to share information and experience in the fields of counter-terrorism, internal security, trade, innovation, water and climate,” he said.
Rivlin spoke briefly about antisemitism and Iran, mentioning the rise of antisemitic incidents in the world, and that Iran continues to be the greatest threat to the Middle East.
“We will not allow Iran to grow, to breed and to export terror, instability and threats to the State of Israel,” he declared.
As for soccer, the game itself had drawn Rivlin to various Latin American countries to watch World Cup matches when he was a member of the Jerusalem City Council, the Knesset, Speaker of the Knesset, and minister of communications.
When he couldn’t be physically present at a World Cup match, Rivlin confessed that he watched it on television, and that he and many other Israelis would be watching the game between Argentina and Uruguay being be played in Tel Aviv on Monday.
Rivlin was also aware that the match between Peru and Chile, which was canceled due to unrest in Chile, is now due to take place in Paris.
Rivlin has visited Mexico several times, but his most memorable visit was in 1986 to watch the World Cup finals.
Mexican Ambassador Pablo Macedo invited him to come again, and hoped that Israel would participate.
“It will take another few centuries,” retorted Rivlin.
Ecuador Ambassador Maria Gabriella Troya told Rivlin that he would be very welcome in her country, and that President Lenin Moreno is eagerly waiting to greet him because Ecuador is a good friend to Israel.
Although the embassy of Panama is in Tel Aviv, the residence of Ambassador Adis Urieta is in Jerusalem.
On the other hand, Guatemala Ambassador Mario Bucaro, the only Latin American ambassador whose embassy is in Jerusalem, told Rivlin that he is moving his residence to the capital.

OTHER LATIN American countries already have trade or cultural offices in Jerusalem, and Rivlin encouraged them to move their embassies there as well.
Bucaro later told The Jerusalem Post that a group of 35 Latin American Evangelical pastors will be coming to Jerusalem next week under the auspices of Keren Kayemet L’Israel-Jewish National Fund, to inaugurate a chain of prayer for peace.
Colombian Ambassador Carlos Morales told Rivlin that being in Israel had changed his perception of the situation in the region. He appreciated the chance to look closely at the issues.
Chile’s ambassador, Rodrigo Fernandez, said that details have almost been completed for the signing of a bi-lateral agreement with Israel for the avoidance of double taxation.
Brazil Ambassador Paulo Cesa Meira de Vasconcellos, whom Rivlin commended as an authority on soccer, enthused about the veterans’ game between Brazil and Israel that had been played in Haifa. He saw the sport as something that binds Israelis and Latin Americans together.
Peru’s ambassador, Carlos Daniel Chavez Taftur-Schmidt, was pleased that hostilities between Gaza and Israel had calmed down, and hoped that this would be a lasting ceasefire for the people of Israel.
Barnardo Griever, serving his second term as Uruguay’s ambassador to Israel, noted that Latin America has been supportive of Israel since the very beginning: of the 11-member UN Special Committee on Palestine that recommended the partition of Palestine to the General Assembly in 1947, three represented Latin American countries.
Paraguay’s ambassador, Max Haber Neuman, who heads the Latin American group of 15 countries, suggested to Rivlin that they have future meetings of this kind, whereupon the president promptly invited them to lunch the next time around.